Any opportunity to ride a bike and I’ll likely spot it. On occasion this starts something and I’ll have a few people join me. At a small gathering to celebrate Sybil Williams ( of Pedal Power Cardiff fame) award of an MBE, I jokingly said you’ll have to cycle to collect your medal. Sybil’s eyes lit up, others were not so impressed with the idea but that was it, seed planted, I found myself organising a bit of a bike ride. Taking yourself off on a bike ride of a couple of hundred miles is not such a challenge but the logistics when being joined by people of different abilities for different stages was something else. We had 7 weeks notice of the date in October so the prep began. Paper work completed and sent out, hotels booked, routes planned, risk assessments undertaken, friendly CTC people identified along the route and we were off! Tweeting as we went #pedalpowertothepalace
We thought it fitting to wear crowns for the ride ( for me it compensated for compromising my republican leanings by showing a healthy disregard especially whilst cycling through Windsor Park). I must get in touch with the person who berated some of us for not wearing helmets to let her know that crowns are a much more effective safety measure as motorists tend to notice you!
Over 40 cyclists cycled with us from Pedal Power to the gates of Bute Park, 14 of us then cycled off along Newport Road and left Cardiff to join the coast road to Newport. The mood was good, the sun was shining and the crowns were sparkling. We said goodbye to Vicky in Newport, she had only planned to cycle to the gates of Bute Park! First snack for some was boiled eggs, for others the more traditional flapjack.
Puncture number one a few miles later allowed Sybil to further reduce the weight of her luggage by offering the flapjack around again!
Lunch in Magor and puncture number two just outside Chepstow where we said goodbye to two more. That was it for punctures for the whole of the ride to London, not bad going considering the state of some of the paths!
Some nice country lanes and then the ride into Bristol. I’d recced it a few weeks earlier and failed then as I did now to find a really good route in. There was a hill that nearly finished some off, a narrow road with impatient drivers and a path alongside a busy main road but before too long we were riding along Portway looking forward to the stunning views of Clifton Suspension Bridge. No views though, instead we had a hail storm and it hurt too much to look up. The change in weather though was so sudden and extreme that all we could do was laugh! A few more soggy miles and we reached Bristol, those heading back to Cardiff said goodbye. Finding hotels in cities in the dark and rain is something I’ve always found a little tricky and Sybil, Jan, John and Den were very patient considering the meandering route we took, though it did take it’s toll.
Bikes into rooms, quick showers and too tired to go further we headed downstairs for food and Sybil celebrated the end of the first day as she did subsequent days